Table for True

April 17, 2008
By Rebecca Giglio, New City, NY

You enjoyed dinner tonight, I think. Finished all your vegetables and chicken- you’re a regular member of the Clean Plate Club. And I swear I didn’t cry tonight. Not until I had to throw out your napkin- perfectly intact. Then my eyes started to get a little watery but I didn’t let more than one tear escape. I swear.

It’s become an everyday ritual now to set a place for you at the dinner table. I guess I was used to eating breakfast and lunch alone- but not dinner. You were always there for dinner. It was the first night after you left. I grabbed two plates instead of one- two forks, two knifes, two cups. Now it’s no accident. Looking across the table at where you used to be, swallowing whole huge mouthfuls of steak and potatoes- it’s better than eating alone.

I miss the snorts you’d tried to suppress when you’d laugh and drink your cranberry juice at the same time. I’d yell at you for making such a mess but you know I laughed too- rolled my eyes at you while I sponged up all the juice and vacuumed all the crumbs- but I was smiling, too. I was.

You don’t make too much of a mess anymore. You don’t laugh too much, either, at least not out load. But I think I can still hear you if I try. And every night I wash the dishes you would have used and clean up the crumbs you would have left and roll my eyes at the corny jokes you would have made. And dinner’s not quite as lonely.

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